Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Stitch of the Month: Chain Stitch

This month's Stitch of the Month is Chain stitch. If you're not familiar with our Stitch of the Month, which has been having a bit of a break, a stitch is chosen each month, and members are challenged to make something using it, or find some previous work which utilised the stitch, and bring it to the next branch session.

Chain stitch is an interesting one to work. While it's simple in its execution, indeed many of us may have worked it at school, or as one of our first embroidery stitches, it works well either as an outline or filling stitch, and it also looks good scattered around as a detached seeding stitch.

If you're not familiar with the stitch, or want a bit of a refresher, take a look at Sharon B's Stitch dictionary, or Sarah's Hand Embroidery Picture Dictionary. Sharon B also lists other stitches in the chain family which you might want to try.

Here are some examples from the internet of what people have done with chain stitch:

The Colours of Life: by WiredWitch on Flickr

Chain Stitch by Viv Denscombe

Chain Stitch on Red: by jacquedavis on Flickr

Keychain: by hetkabinet on Flickr
 What can you do with chain stitch? No matter how large or small, or even whether it's finished, we'd love to see your project next month.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Requirements List: Basically Speaking with Art Van Go

We're very much looking forward to the Basically Speaking workshop with Art Van Go on the 28th of March. Here's the requirements list:

An introduction to the basic materials used in surface embellishment, concentrating on the most versatile mediums that can be adapted for all sorts of surfaces - including fabrics. By the end of the day of demonstrations and practical ‘play-times’, everyone should be able to use the materials in a creative and decorative way from a position of understanding.

Please bring with you as many of the following tools as possible (without having to buy any equipment that you wouldn’t normally have) so you can experiment fully

  • Drawing Board (preferably not melamine) or something to pin or stick paper & fabric to (plywood panel, foam-board etc) at least about 14"square, without a frame so it will lie flat and make contact with the table surface.   This is not essential but will be useful for those occasions where you would ideally like a ‘third hand’ to hold fabric in place
  • Old towel or blanket piece to use as a softer surface for printing
  • Waterpots
  • Deep Palette/Yoghurt Pots for mixing.
  • Brushes, Stencil Brushes/Toothbrushes
  • Palette Knife/Small Spatula/Flexible Knife
  • Printing blocks & print-rollers (if possible)
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Simple Face Mask – essential if you have sensitivities to dusts and particles
  • Kitchen Roll / Cloths for cleaning, mopping up - essential
  • Old newspapers to protect table tops
  • Selection of Paper pieces (white & black, smooth & textured) – you could use quite a lot of paper as it will be used as practice surfaces, and for taking the last of the paints/inks/dyes etc – we won’t be wasting anything
  • Selection of Fabric pieces (colours as above, but fabrics should be about 12” sq, washed to remove dressing if necessary and ironed so you’re not fighting the crumples!) You will probably need at least 6 of these, but it depends on whether you want to layer up or work on individual pieces.
  •  Plastic sheeting or bags, or cling film, to carry wet fabrics/surfaces home at the end of the day if necessary.
anything else that you would like to use - spray or nozzle bottles, stencils, printing plates, textured items for rubbings, doilies, wide tooth combs etc.   I will also be bringing lots of stuff! …..not forgetting lots of energy and enthusiasm – you will be working through a lot of techniques!!!!
Many other materials (including those you will be trying on the day) will be available for sale from ART VAN GO
For a downloadable file of this list, please click here. This includes contact details for Art Van Go in case you have any queries.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

February Meeting with Edwina Mackinnon

In February we were lucky to have the colourful Edwina Mackinnon talk to us about her quilts. Edwina demonstrated her work through her delightful quilts which showed how she used a colour palette incorporating a complimentary colour to give it all a zing!

Edwina told us how she dyes many of her own fabrics but also incorporates purchased fabric, creates her own prints, mixes cottons with silk and  man made fabrics as well as using appliqué and bonding.

Getting inspiration from photographs taken on her travels we were all excited to be able to get up close and personal with the beautiful quilts that Edwina had bought along.

This months Raffle prize was an Orange bag - created and won by Clare although she selected to take the smaller bag created by Bev and Angela won the 2nd bag.

The sales table proved to be popular again. Don't forget if you have any pre-loved items to donate do bring them along and hand them to Meriel, it all adds to our branch funds.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Midland Textile Forum Exhibition

The Midland Textile Forum have an exhibition of their work at the Coffin Works in the Jewellery Quarter. You can choose whether you wish to tour the somewhat unusual museum find out more at

Thursday, 12 February 2015

February Notices

Birmingham Branch Notices February 2015

Welcome to tonight’s meeting and a warm welcome to tonight’s speaker Edwina Mackinnon, who should provide all of us with plenty of inspiration.
National and Regional Guild Organisation: The committee have had only positive comments about the new direction and about Stephanie’s comments when she visited. Clare has contacted you via email about volunteering for the show at the NEC in March, have a word with her if you need to know more.
Branch Survey the issue of being able to hear speakers is a priority and Anne and Heather are pursuing options for some PA support as a matter of urgency.
The national AGM Birmingham Library Sat 11th April: our exhibition. If you want to come don’t forget to book your place. We have still not got very explicit information about the exhibition space we will have, but can you please bring a piece you would like to have included to the March meeting. Please clearly label your piece and its wrapping with name address and title of the piece. Because of what might be restricted space we are asking for one piece. The Tolkein piece will also be included.
Regional Day is happening on Saturday 20th June 2015,10 till 4 pm, Leaminton Spa. The Madeira Lecture is by Nicola Jarvis on Goldwork and the competition is All that Glisters is Not Gold. The Young Embroiderer’s Competition is Bright and Shiny. Tickets will be approximately £18, with an optional meal for £8. If you would like to go to the day and the regional days are well worth it, see Clare. We usually try and coordinate to travel together so don’t let worries about that put you off.
Library first Saturday of the Month 11 am hopefully some of you will be able to join us on 7th March. As you know there is some threat to Library funding and there is a protest against this if you would like lobby your MP or local councillor.
The list for individual members who are willing to lend their own equipment is available tonight please use it if you want to get involved with this. If for example you have an embellisher you are willing to lend you would add that with your contact details. Another member could then approach you individually.

Thank you all for supporting the raffle and lots of you have now volunteered for a bag. There are one or two still needed, so please see Lorna. Colours can be found on the blog, or by asking Lorna, but the colour for March is yellow so please bring contribution in that colour if you can to the March Meeting.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Library February 2015

There were around 20 of us busy at the library on Saturday.  It was buzzing with activity and we were pleased to have 2 new faces  Rosanna and Renee who had found us on Facebook so our fame continues to spread.

People were busy stitching a variety of projects and Angela was mixing it up with some beading.

We will be back at the library between 11 and 2 on March 7th so make a note in your diary and come pop along to join in.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Library of Birmingham Saturday February 7

It's library time again and we  are in our normal spot  on the Mezzanine floor above the library cafe from 11am until about 2pm,  Everyone is welcome to join us to  bring any stitching projects you are working on whether you need a bit of help or encouragement or just want to join in the social event and carry on with your project.  We will have felt, binca and other activities for both adults and children.

Even if you can only make it for an hours or so do come along to catch up, have a chat and a stitch.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

February Branch Meeting - Colour Story with Edwina Mackinnon

This Monday (February 9th) at our branch meeting we are going to be enjoying a talk from Edwina Mackinnon, a talented quilter and textile artist with a love of colour. During her Colour Story talk, Edwina will be sharing the ways that she dyes, colours and prints fabrics, to create a wide range of effects. This will be a fun and informative talk, so please do join us.

If you're new to the Guild, visitors are welcome, and the first session is free, with a charge of £4 thereafter. Please see here for details of where we meet. See you there!